Fedora Linux guys replaced the ancient Initd with Systemd in Fedora 16. Bold move. I understand it had to be done. It speeds up booting and does a bunch of other things Initd can't or won't.
The classic story when introducing something new is that it has bugs. This particular time I struggled to get my Magic Sysrq key working on boot. Looks like Fedora people failed (at least) two times with it: Bug 760254 in Fedora 16 and Bug 924433 in Fedora 18 describe these shortcomings.
In short, the trouble with this new thing is that your changes won't take effect on boot. Most Linux admins never touch any of the sysctl(8)-settings and continue living successfully. Then there are rest of us, who tinker&tune their boxes to match their requirements. In Fedora Linux there is a directory of /etc/sysctl.d/ into a sysadmin may create a file with own settings to either override existing settings from /usr/lib/sysctl.d/ or set completely new values, which have only their kernel default set.
An example: To set the Sysrq-key into "dangerous"-mode allowing all possible operations, the value of file /proc/sys/kernel/sysrq needs to be "1". It can be achieved with a file in /etc/sysctl.d/ containing following:
kernel.sysrq = 1
In Fedora the default value according to /usr/lib/sysctl.d/50-default.conf and manual inspection after boot is "16". So, the big trouble is to get the value of "1" stick. After a couple of reboots I realized that it is possible to test the functionality without booting the computer. As a root, simply run:
systemctl restart systemd-sysctl.service
... and watch what happens. The rather complex name of the service is something I couldn't figure out without Fedora discussion forums.
Anyway, after many many failures I concluded that my own settings need to be executed before the file 50-default.conf. To make things easier, systemd-sysctl.service first gathers a full list of files to be processed, then alphabetizes them and finally executes the settings in order. So I made my file to be /etc/sysctl.d/01-myownsettings.conf, which seemed to do the trick! There is a logic behind that, but it is just tricky to figure out.